SkinSpirit Took Me To Fantastic Skin For My Wedding!

Chemical Peel AfterA little over a month ago, I married my Mr. Right in Las Vegas. My dream wedding has always been to get married in Vegas by Elvis. I was not only able to have my dream wedding, but I also achieved my dream skin before saying “I do!” with the help of SkinSpirit Skincare Clinic and Spa.

I had to start working on my dream skin plan, three months before heading to Vegas. In January, I had a series of three Vitalize chemical peels with Kavina at the SkinSpirit University Village location. Then in March, I had a modified Jessner/TCA chemical peel with Tina at the SkinSpirit Redmond location. My goal for the treatments was not to have to wear liquid foundation in order to hide the stubborn hyperpigmentation on my face, thanks to sun damage from many summers past. After these four peels, the hyperpigmentation was significantly reduced. My overall results were noticeably lighter, smoother and radiant skin on my wedding day.

I can go on and on about the amazing talent and wealth of knowledge both Kavina and Tina have on skin and the treatments they offer, along with their impeccable bedside manner. Instead, what I want to focus on is the #1 reason why I had such amazing results from my treatments I followed the explicit instructions given to me by both of these aestheticians, both before the peels and after. I can’t stress enough just how important it is to listen to your aesthetician and follow their advice. If you’re considering having a chemical peel, I recommend:

Schedule a Consultation
First and foremost, schedule a complimentary consultation with an aesthetician to help you determine which chemical peel will be right for your skin.

Follow the Plan
Follow the treatment plan prescribed by your aesthetician, including the type of peel recommended, the number of peels needed to achieve desired results, skincare products to use both before and after the peel(s) and any post-treatment instructions.

Prepare Your Skin
Your aesthetician will help prepare your skin for the chemical peel by prescribing a four or six week skin-conditioning program. Since I was having the chemical peels to treat hyperpigmentation, the skin conditioning program I was prescribed consisted of using a retinol and a skin brightening complex once a day, preferably at night before going to bed. I also used SkinMedica’s TNS Essential Serum twice a day, to be applied after cleansing my skin. This serum is the perfect two-in-one product for a minimalist like me. TNS Essential Serum is a rejuvenating serum that helps enhance skin texture, tone and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles

Check Your Schedule
Two days before having a chemical peel, you’ll want to stop using any retinol product. Don’t forget to double-check your schedule before booking your chemical peel. You’ll want to give your skin at least three to six days to complete the peeling process. You won’t want to schedule any special events until your skin is finished with the peeling process.

Once you’ve had a chemical peel, don’t put anything on your skin up to six hours after treatment. Your skin will usually start to shed two days after treatment and can last anywhere from three to six days, depending on the type of chemical peel you’ve had. During the peeling process, the only products you’ll want to apply to your skin are a mild cleanser, a moisturizer (I prefer using Aquaphor) and a sunscreen with SPF 50. It’s also a good idea to have Benadryl on hand, just incase you experience any irritation or swelling after treatment.

And whatever you do, DON’T peel the skin prematurely during the peeling process. Not allowing the skin to come off naturally after a peel can lead to scarring and further irritation. If you’re considering have a chemical peel and want the best results possible, be sure to listen to your aesthetician and explicitly follow their advice and recommendations.

Happy Peeling!

PS: The image below was taken on Day 3 after having the modified Jessner/TCA peel with Tina. The results and peeling are in no way a guarantee to happen on everyone’s skin who has the treatment. I was just in such awe of how much my skin had peeled after this treatment that I wanted to share with all of you. Underneath all of that yellow and brown dead skin was beautiful, radiant skin, revealed just in time for my wedding!!

Day Four of Chemical Peel

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Chemical Peel: Day Two

Peel Day 02I woke up this morning and my skin felt itchy all over. I couldn’t wait to get into the shower so I could wash my face. Before I got into the shower, I looked in the mirror and noticed that the peeling had spread from both sides of my mouth area, on up to my cheek and nose area. As I washed my face gently with my hands, I could feel the dead skin roll off in chunks. It was so weird and kind of satisfying.

After I got out of the shower and dried my face, I applied facial moisturizer and SPF. There was no way I was going to put on a liquid moisturizer on top of my shedding skin. It would be way too messy and would probably interfere with the peeling process. The SPF stung my skin a bit. Mental Note To Self: New skin coming through is going to be a bit sensitive to the touch for the first couple of days of it being exposed.

By the time I got to the office, I swear I could feel the dead skin peeling off of my face, spreading across both of my cheeks and to my temple area on both sides of my face. It felt incredibly weird and extremely itchy. The only thing that relieved the itchy feeling was applying a generous layer of moisturizer all over my face. The itchiness would go away for about a half hour or so and then would come right back. It was so hard not to scratch the areas of my face that was peeling.

Now that more of the surface area of my face was peeling off, I started to feel uncomfortable about going out into public. I stepped out for lunch for a quick second and got a strange look from people who walked by me. I wanted to stop and tell them that there was nothing wrong with my face and that I had just had a chemical peel. Instead, I avoid their looks and kept walking. Thank goodness my office doesn’t have any windows and that all of my co-workers are well-versed in the chemical peel process.

Right before I left my office for the day, I looked down on my shirt and saw flakes of dead skin everywhere. Gross. I wiped it off my shirt only to find that there was a whole pile of dead skin on the floor right underneath my chair in my office. Yuck!! I applied another generous layer of moisturizer for my commute home in hopes of avoiding shedding like that in my car.

My husband took one look at me when I came home from work and asked if he could peel some of the skin off of my face. I slapped his hands away and went to apply more moisturizer. How much skin is going to peel off of my face? Dang! At least I know the SkinMedica Vitalize Peel is working.

I think the one thing that bugs me the most is that my skin itches so much. No pain, no gain, right? Regardless of all the itchiness, I’m still excited to see the new skin come through once the dead skin comes off completely.

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What is a Chemical Peel?

Peel-01Currently, in my position at SkinSpirit as the Social Media and Marketing Manager, one of the tasks on my To Do list is to blog about the treatments we offer. In fact this was the very task that attracted me to my current position with the company in the first place. Being paid to look and feel my best? How could I say no to that? 

SkinSpirit is a medical spa with six locations – three in Northern California and three in the Seattle, Washington area. Our clinics offer a array of skincare treatments including: Botox, dermal filler, laser resurfacing, a wide variety of medical-grade facials including the popular Signature Facial, chemical peels, microdermabrasion, laser hair removal, skin tightening with Ultherapy, IPL/Photofacials, Latisse®, a medical weight loss program and our newest skincare treatment, micro-penning.

I’ve had the pleasure of receiving a number of these amazing services over the last two years including Botox, dermal filler, the dermaplaning treatment, laser hair removal, microdermabrasion and countless Signature Facials. I even gave REBALANCE, the medical weight loss program a shot last year. A couple of months ago, one of our practitioners, Kavina (an amazing, smart, beautiful and charismatic aesthetician) at the SkinSpirit University Village location took one look at my skin and asked me if I had ever had a chemical peel. I had never had one before and quite frankly was a little intimidated by them, just for the sole fact that the treatment name had the word “chemical” in it. Lame I know, but it’s true. She spotted the hyperpigmentation on my forehead and on my cheek bones right away and told me if I gave her the chance and let her perform a series of three chemical peels on my face, I’d see a dramatic difference in the reduction of the hyperpigmentation all over my face. She got my attention immediately.

What is a Chemical Peel?
So what is a chemical peel? A chemical peel dissolves the glue that holds dead skin cells together on the surface of the skin. A chemical peel is a “controlled burn” of the skin and is considered a surface chemical exfoliation as opposed to a manual exfoliation like a facial scrub, Clarisonic brush, microdermabrasion or a dermaplaning treatment.

Benefits of Having a Chemical Peel
Some of the benefits of having a professional (and I stress professional) chemical peel include improving skin tone and texture, revealing brighter, smoother and a more refined complexion underneath the skin, reducing discoloration caused by sun damage, treating hyperpigmentation, helping to clear up breakouts, smoothing away the look of wrinkles, increasing hydration within the skin and allowing skincare products to be more effective.

The discoloration on my face is something I’ve always felt insecure about. I’ve always been quick to hide it with heavy liquid foundation. Hyperpigmentation is a common, usually harmless condition in which patches of skin become darker in color than normal surrounding skin, typically caused by sun damage or hormonal changes. The discoloration on my skin was caused largely by the numerous hours spent in the sun both during the summer months wakeboarding on the water and during the winter months snowboardng up on the mountain. Who knew that the reflection of the sun on the snow in a high elevation climate could be such a prime breeding ground for hyperpigmentation? Even though I’ve been pretty religious about wearing sunscreen whenever I spend time outdoors, sunscreen only protects skin from damaging UV rays that cause sunburns. Sunscreen, unfortunately doesn’t prevent the skin from tanning (getting pigmented) and turning brown.

The Initial Consultation
Since I refuse to live my life indoors and wanted to feel confident wearing my skin free of heavy liquid foundation makeup, I went ahead and told Kavina to sign me up for the chemical peel series. Before I could have my first chemical peel with Kavina, I had to come in for a consultation. During the consultation, Kavina explained to me my treatment plan. Since I spend a good chunk of my free time outdoors, Kavina wanted to come up with a realistic treatment plan that would work with my active, outdoor lifestyle while helping me get the results I was looking for. Kavina suggested that I have a series of three Vitalize chemical peels over the course of a month, with each treatment being within two weeks of each other. The first treatment would be a Vitalize Peel. The second treatment would be a modified Signature Facial with a Vitalize Peel. The third and final treatment would be another Vitalize Peel.

Skin Conditioning
To prepare my skin for the first chemical peel, Kavina advised that I undergo a four-week skin conditioning preparation program. Skin conditioning is designed to bring the skin into a tolerant state so that it responds better to a chemical peel and lessens the chance of triggering an undesirable response to the treatment, Without the skin conditioning program, I run the risk of not having my skin respond well to the treatment and not getting the results I’m hoping to achieve. Over the next four weeks, Kavina recommended that I apply a retinol and a skin brightening complex, once a day to my skin.

Products to Use and How to Use Them
My goal for my very first chemical peel series is to target the hyperpigmentation on my skin. With this in mind, Kavina suggested that I use SkinMedica’s Retinol Complex 0.5 and the Lytera Skin Brightening Complex once a day, together in the morning after cleansing my face. What’s nice is that I can easily use these products in conjunction with my facial cleanser, Clarisonic skincare brush, daily moisturizer and sunscreen. The daily use of these products will help suppress the pigment on my skin before having the treatment, in addition to helping build up a solid foundation and tolerance for the chemical peels.

Kavina also recommended that I use SkinMedica’s TNS Essential Serum twice a day – once in the morning and once at night after cleansing my face. She said that for a minimalist like me, this was the perfect product to use daily. It’s an all-in-one, rejuvenating serum that will not only help enhance my skin texture and tone, but also reduce the appearance of wrinkles, leaving my skin looking healthier and younger. Who doesn’t love an easy-to-use product that does all of that?

With my skin conditioning program in place, my skin should be good to go for my first chemical peel in the next few weeks. I can’t wait to see the results!

 

I’ll be documenting my chemical peel series experience along with my recent laser hair removal series experience on the SkinSpirit blog over the next month. Feel free to check out the SkinSpirit blog here.

 

 

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“I’m Looking for a Natural Sunscreen That Wont Break my Face Out. Help!”

Shopping_For_SunscreenA blog reader recently asked me a great question about sunscreen. As soon as I sent the reply, I realized that a lot of you out there might have the same question. I know I did!

Reader Question: “I’m looking for a natural sunscreen that wont break my face out. Help!”

 

Answer:
As far as finding a “natural” sunscreen, that’s going to be really hard. The term “natural” doesn’t have an industry-wide definition so every brand is going to have their own way of defining what natural means. Plus, in order for sunscreen to be effective and work, you need the vital active ingredients in the product. Chemical sunscreen need active ingredients like Avobenzone, Homosalate, Octisalate, Octocrylene, Oxybenzone, Oxtinoxate, Menthyl Anthranilate or Oxtocrylene and physical sunscreens need active ingredients like Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide. You’re best off trying a few different sunscreens to see which works better for your own skin. The best way to do that is through a patch test on the back of your neck or on a lower portion of your neck.

Zinc Dioxide and Titanium Dioxide are the two active ingredients found in a physical sunscreen. A physical sunscreen works to protect your skin from harmful UV rays by sitting on top of the skin and deflecting them. This is opposed to a chemical sunscreen which allows the UV rays to be absorbed into the skin and then neutralizes them. This is why a physical sunscreen works a lot better for the sensitive skin types. If you’re acne prone, go for a physical sunscreen that’s formulated for the face and is oil-free and lightweight.

Here are a couple of my favorites that I’ve tried recently that haven’t caused me any breakouts:

SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion Defense UV SPF 50
This formula has a bit of tint to it which eliminates that chalky look on the skin

SkinMedica Environmental Defense SPF 50
It’s water resistant for up to 80 minutes. This stuff is great for water sports or if you’re doing something outdoors that makes you sweat.

mybody Protect and Serve, SPF 30
It’s specially formulated for aging, sensitive AND acne skin types

There’s a natural vs organic debate that’s been going on in the beauty world. I’ve covered it on my blog and have even been published on the topic. If you’re curious, check out what I’ve written:

What does “natural” mean?
What does “organic” mean?

Finding the right sunscreen for your skin can be quite a process, but it’s worth the research!!

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